October 2016 News

Fear Of Stone-throwers Keeps Students Away, Says Akhter

24 October 2016
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Rifat Mohidin

Srinagar: Minister for Education Naeem Akhter today said the government had kept schools open, but it was the fear of stone-throwers which was keeping children away from schools. In an interview with The Tribune, the minister said Class X and XII examinations would be held on time as the government did not want to waste a year of students. 'The Board of School Education is in the process of making things clear to students. The exams will be held on time as the year is ending and no one is going to wait for us,' the minister said. He said the exams were due to begin on October 1 and the students had been given more than a month as a grace period to prepare. Schools and colleges in the Kashmir valley had been lying shut for the last more than 100 days due to the ongoing unrest. Students had been sitting at home, but due to shutdowns and curfew, they were not able to complete their syllabus as coaching centres had been lying shut, putting them in a dilemma. Despite opposition to examinations in November, the government had notified the date sheet for class X and XII board exams to be held from the second week of next month. The minister said the government had kept schools open, but students were not coming. 'For us schools are open and it is students who are not attending. They are scared due to stone-throwers. There are thousands of students who want to attend school, but they are in fear. Teachers are coming and it is society which has to cooperate in opening schools,' he said. Talking about students lodged in jails across the Valley, some of them booked under the Public Safety Act, he said they were looking into their appearing in the examinations. 'We don't know the exact number of students in jail. Once we have the figures, we can decide accordingly. We are here to help students and will help everyone,' the minister said. He added that some schools which were being used by security forces in the last two months would be vacated once the situation in the Kashmir valley improved.